4:53am via text
Him: Hey can I ask you a kinda serious question?
Me: Yeah, go for it
Him: Ok well I just want to say that I do like being around you and I totally understand where you are coming from. My only thing is, well, like I told you, I am very dead inside. To the point I’m not sure I’m capable of emotionally connecting with people at all anymore. I mean sometimes I think I can be better but the more I’m around people I feel like I’m just getting worse. So I guess my question is if that bothers you?
Me: Well… to answer you honestly, I didn’t fill out a profile on an online dating site to meet new friends and while I have my doubts about being able to meet someone to fall in love with and share my life with, I’m not ready to give up hope. I do enjoy your company however if you don’t think you could ever give yourself to someone on a deep, emotional level, then perhaps friends is the only thing we can be. The only problem with that is that I have plenty of friends… Of course I am okay with who you are, but it doesn’t seem like you are up to being the kind of partner I am looking for.
Him: I just don’t know anymore to be honest. I’m just flying blind.
Me: Yeah, I can understand that. It’s just that the part of me that isn’t completely cynical and bitter is still a bit of a hopeless romantic.
Him: I know. I mean, I have dreams about my ex-wife that bother me for days. I don’t think there’s anyone I hate or love in this world more than her. It’s pretty fucked up. And you deserve better on that front that what I could possibly offer.
Me: I appreciate you telling me this now. And you wouldn’t know it, but nothing frustrates me more than hearing I deserve better. So… it was nice meeting you and good luck in the future.
I should’ve known when he asked if we could go dutch last night at dinner.
Between this interaction and the one from another guy who had previously told me to be alone and then proceeded to inform me how difficult it was going to be to get over the girl that he wants to be with the most, you could say that I’m just a few degrees shy of an inferno this week.
I was visiting with a good friend of mine the other day and met his girlfriend for the first time – they had met on the same online dating site that I had used to meet Mr. Text. Apparently, my profile had popped up on his page as a possible suggestion and he told me that I needed to put up better pictures of myself as they weren’t a good physical representation of me. I didn’t tell him that my feelings were hurt (I thought those photos were pretty nice)… but I did tell him that I didn’t want to attract creepy people by putting up photos that were too… sexy or flashy. Then he said something that I found to be pretty interesting… he told me that I am always going to attract strange people because of my personality. Not that I’m strange, necessarily, but – to use his words – that I’m a down chick. I’m super cool with everything and non judgmental about people. He said that at the very least, if I posted more attractive pictures of myself, I could attract a better looking crowd and increase my chances of meeting someone that makes me breathe hard when they walk into the room and has more attractive qualities overall then the men that have approached me so far.
I suppose this is an interesting theory. It’s had me looking into my self-image quite a bit.
When I was 23 years old, I was living in a beautiful 1920’s style apartment on the ocean side of Ocean Boulevard with my boyfriend of four years. I had a job that I enjoyed, a commute that was even better, and a steady diet of beer and Mexican food that was typically enjoyed while sitting in front of the television watching reality shows and dramas for two to three hours each night. I also weighed just shy of 165 pounds. Looking back, this was most definitely the “fat and happy” time of my life.
I hadn’t weighed myself in a long time however during a routine gynecology visit in Aliso Viejo, the nurse went through the normal pre-visit procedures, checking my blood pressure, weight, etc. and when I saw the numbers land on 163, I actually had to swallow the lump that jumped up in my throat. I had no idea I had let myself put on so much weight. When my doctor finished up my exam, she asked me if anything had changed over the last year and I said “Well, I see I’ve put on some weight” and her response as my memory has it saved was “Yeah, what’s up with that??”
So, I decided to go on a diet. Atkins was still insanely popular at that time so I started there. I cut out sugar and carbs, focused heavily on fruit and protein and within just a few months, I had dropped closed to fifteen pounds. However, for anyone who has every actually tried this diet, they’ll know that it is a fairly unrealistic way of eating to maintain for long periods of time. The one thing that I have always been in touch with is my body and what it tells me – I knew that if I wanted to continue dropping weight and stay in shape, I would need to adjust a few things.
So, I joined the gym. Up until then, I had always been a person that was a huge advocate for NOT going to the gym. I always had some excuse like “I really need that extra hour of sleep in the morning” or “I don’t like working on machines that other people have been all sweaty on” or whatever my lame excuse was for that particular day. However, I was determined to get in shape so I started getting my fat ass up every morning at 4:00am, packing all the things I needed for work and getting an hour long work out in before getting the rest of my day rolling. During the first few months, this was made a lot easier by having Nancy as a gym buddy. Even though we didn’t actually work out together, we were at the gym at the same time. Some mornings, when I knew how hard it was going to be to roll over and out of bed, I would think of Nancy walking in, looking around for me and it would be just the encouragement I needed to get up.
Over the next few months, all of my suits for work were starting to get baggy and my friends had begun to make comments about my weight loss. I think I was down to about 135 at that point.
I was really happy at that weight. Before I started eating differently and working out, I was at Old Navy squeezing into a size 10 and knowing that I would be more comfortable if I went up to a 12. Now, I was happy in an 8 and sometimes, could even get into a 6 if I really tried.
My diet wasn’t fantastic, but it was much better and going to the gym had become habitual after just six months of attending on a regular basis. It was during this time that I decided the next step to getting healthy was to quit smoking. So, I did two things to set myself up to win – I signed up and started training for the Long Beach half marathon and I bought about a half ounce of weed. Hey, in my mind, it sure beat wearing the patch.
Ah… to be 24 years old again…
I ran the half marathon in Long Beach two days before I moved to Las Vegas. I finished in just under two and a half hours. I never needed to walk and had been off of cigarettes for quite a few months at that point. My weight was still right around 130-135 and I had turned a bit of my fat into muscle mass. I was pretty happy with this.
The years in Las Vegas passed and my party lifestyle had come back in full force. This time, it was MUCH easier to maintain given the city’s 24 hour permission to pour. I found myself putting on weight again and decided to try a new kind of diet. A friend of mine at the time gave me a book called Skinny Bitch which was really eye-opening to the kind of garbage that I was putting into my body every day without realizing it. The book was very heavy on the “Go Vegan” message as well and after reading the chapter about the normal practices of a U.S. slaughterhouse, I decided that it might be a good lifestyle choice for me. I had been vegetarian off and on since I was eleven years old so it wasn’t a gigantic stretch.
It was a little difficult at first as I had to learn how to cook – something that I have never been very good at or interested in getting better at. Luckily, I had always attracted men who liked to cook so it was never something I “needed” to learn either. Here I was though, preparing all kinds of crazy pasta, rice and tofu dishes, learning how to properly steam vegetables and add just the right kind of flavoring so that the bland dishes were at least somewhat edible. I bought myself a Vegan cookbook and learned how to make some pretty kickass chili. I could feel the weight melting off and finally, after years of daily scale stepping, the numbers fell into the mid 120’s.
Unfortunately, my overall lifestyle was getting a little mucky again. I was back working in the restaurant industry and living in a house with three other servers, one of which was my boyfriend, and our downstairs living room was dedicated to the seven foot long beer pong table. I wasn’t eating as often as I should have been; therefore I no longer had the energy to go to the gym and hadn’t been for almost six months. I stopped cooking daily and started living off of chips and the occasional piece of fruit or lettuce. The majority of my caloric intake was coming from the very Vegan-friendly Newcastle or Guinness and my sugar was being delivered via countless shots of Jagermeister.
I remember getting up one morning and having yet another rough go in the bathroom as I hadn’t had any solid bowel movement in weeks, brushing my teeth and spitting out a mouthful of blood from my endlessly bleeding gums and then stepping on the scale to see it jump down to 116 pounds. My once beautifully curvy thighs were now little toothpicks and my plump peach of an ass was now shrunken down to just the shriveled pit. I realized I hadn’t eaten a real, solid meal in close to a month.
I stood naked, looking at myself in the mirror and seeing a physical specimen of the mess that was my life at the time, I started to cry. For the third time in my four years in Las Vegas, I moved back home with Mom and Dad.
Since then, I am happy to say that I’ve gotten my health back on track. I gave up the Vegan lifestyle (that first hamburger was one of the best meals of my life) since I was clearly not responsible enough to handle it and started going back to the gym.
In the last year, I’ve made the most significant progress. Obviously, I’ve cut out the heavy drinking and partying, finished with cigarettes for good and now, with no pot in my life, I have no excuse to “get the munchies.” In the last few months in particular, with dating at an all time low and no plans for sex in the immediate future, I’ve had a lot of free time to spend at the gym and health food store, buying food that makes me feel good. I’m also very, very lucky to have my friend Travis staying with me in my new apartment who is an advocate for good health and has been an amazing influence on me as far as incorporating vitamins and specific nutrients into my diet.
As of today, I am a healthy 120 pounds, have muscle definition in my arms, back, shoulders and legs, have discovered that my stomach IS capable of being flat and that my waist has some curve that I never thought was possible. In fact, after I’m done writing, I am going shopping for new casual clothes as my favorite size 5 Lucky Jeans are now falling off my hips.
It’s taken me almost seven years to lose the 45 pounds that devastated me that day in the doctor’s office in Aliso Viejo. However, I do believe there is something to be said for the scenic route of my weight loss as I can reflect on all of the things that didn’t work for me and avoid them in the future. The most important thing for me, though, was that I really started seeing results when I stopped worrying so much about how I looked and focused more on how I felt.
So, while I don’t anticipate slipping back into my unhealthy habits and do know in my heart that daily exercise and eating right is the smart choice, I decided that yes, I’ll be right back with your extra side of liquid butter for your already buttered corn on the cob and this time, I’ll do it with a smile.
Because as it turns out there is something to be said for being fat and happy… skinny and sad just doesn’t have the same ring to it.